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Alabama tops the 'messy top 10'
There was so much insanity in college football Saturday that I decided we had to go ahead and attempt to make sense of it all in advance of this week's Starting 11 by releasing my top 10 and my SEC power rankings.
It's almost as if the entire SEC conspired to prove that Bob Stoops' "top heavy" argument was complete and total crap.
What would the odds on a five-team SEC money line parlay have paid? Somewhere around 446 to 1.
You'll notice that both of these polls are a complete mess. So be it. Let's roll.
Here's my national top 10:
I've bumped the Tide back up above Oregon this week. Why?
Because outside of the Texas A&M game, Alabama's defense has been historically dominant.
The Tide have now given up 26 total points in the six games other than A&M. In its past five games, Alabama has outscored opponents 201-16.
I mean, are those real numbers?
If Johnny Manziel hadn't played the best game of his life against Alabama, we'd be talking about this Alabama defense as one of the best in the history of the game. News flash: Just because Manziel was amazing in that game doesn't mean Alabama's defense can't also be amazing.
Stop with the lazy, "But they haven't played anybody," whines.
Show me another team in the country that has given up 16 points in its past five games no matter who it has been playing. I'll be waiting a long time for your counter-evidence.
There isn't one.
I've had the Ducks No. 1 for weeks, but the defense has started to show some holes against Washington and Washington State. Plus, this isn't so much a demotion as it is a recognition of Alabama's dominance.
The Ducks are one of the top two teams in the country, and the next two weeks will solidify that fact.
The last year of the BCS could be the messiest yet.
The Seminoles aren't likely to pass either Alabama or Oregon no matter what they do on the field. It's Auburn 2004 all over again.
That's a shame, because I'd love to see what would happen with Jameis Winston in a playoff.
As for Clemson? Just wow.
The biggest home game in the history of your football program and this happens? Astounding.
Mizzou has a really good shot at being 12-0 this year.
Yes, I really wrote that sentence.
In theory that would make the SEC title game against 12-0 Alabama a default play-in for the BCS title game. But would 13-0 Mizzou jump Florida State or Oregon in the polls?
A new kind of Misery.
By the way, here's Mizzou's entire student section doing the Gator chomp:
My best prediction of the year? Then-unranked Baylor would be 7-0 and ranked in the top 10 when Oklahoma came into Waco.
That's definitely going to be the case this year.
Ho hum, Baylor just scored 71 points on a Big 12 team. No big deal. Moving right along.
If everyone else stubs their toe -- which after last week looks more and more possible -- then Stanford could still run the table and become the top one-loss team in the country.
But news flash: Alabama and Oregon aren't losing in the regular season.
And Florida State probably isn't either.
Who knew you could go on the road against a 1-4 team, need to score a touchdown with 16 seconds left in the game and that you'd still be one of the most impressive top-10 teams of the week?
College football has turned into the NCAA tournament -- survive and advance.
That Miami at Florida State game looks as big as any this year.
It's like 1989 all over again.
8. Ohio State
The Buckeyes have zero chance of playing for the national title unless at least two of these teams lose -- Alabama, Oregon and Florida State.
And Baylor might also need to lose as well.
Having said that, Ohio State probably isn't losing either. What a mess is brewing in the final year of the BCS.
9. Texas Tech
I don't even think Texas Tech is that good, but the Red Raiders are somehow 7-0.
So you have to rank Tech in the top 10, right?
I have no idea if Auburn is any good either, but the Tigers are somehow 6-1 and appear to be getting better each week.
So someone has to go here and it might as well be Auburn.
My SEC power rankings plus Ohio State:
The best team in the country is also the best team in the SEC.
I've been a Mizzou true believer for a while now. After the Florida Gator beatdown, the bandwagon is growing.
Mizzou and Oregon remain the only two teams in the country to have won every game this year by 15 or more.
3. Ohio State
The highest the Buckeyes have been in the SEC all year.
I honestly have no idea how LSU managed to lose at Ole Miss.
This is a historically bad SEC loss for Les Miles and crew. Win this game and you're 8-1 going into Alabama for a massive night game.
Now you're angling for the Cotton Bowl.
Also, I know that I somehow have Auburn in my national top 10 while still having LSU ranked above Auburn in my SEC power rankings.
This makes no logical sense, yet given the current state of the SEC, it simultaneously makes perfect sense. So please stop with those emails.
Props to Gus Malzahn and his Tigers.
As expected, Auburn has gotten better each week this season. Can we go ahead and officially give Gene Chizik's BCS national title trophy to Malzahn?
Having said that, why was Auburn in such a hurry on that final drive? Let the clock run. You almost gave away that win by giving the ball back to Manziel with too much time left.
6. Texas A&M
The woeful Aggie defense finally caught up with Johnny Manziel, who couldn't will his team to victory for a second straight week with a come-from-behind final drive.
If Manziel doesn't get knocked out of the game for a third-down red zone pass -- a missed touchdown throw by Matt Joekel -- and a subsequent three-and-out series, then A&M wins this game.
But he did get knocked out for four plays, and that's all it took for A&M to lose.
7. South Carolina
Steve Spurrier's double timeouts late in the Tennessee game is one of the most curious and inexplicable coaching decisions of the season.
What in the world was the Head Ball Coach thinking?
He crushed his team's chances to win there.
I know, I know, Georgia beat South Carolina.
But Georgia also lost to Vandy this weekend and Missouri last weekend. If the two teams played this weekend I think South Carolina would win.
The Bulldogs are plummeting down the rankings with each passing week.
9. Ole Miss
Props to Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss for getting a win over LSU.
The Ole Miss offense was unstoppable all night, and third down and Chavis reared its ugly head at LSU -- the Tigers were awful all night on third-and-long defense.
How wild is the SEC East this year?
If Aaron Murray doesn't throw a touchdown pass with five seconds left, even with a loss at Alabama Tennessee would control its own path to Atlanta.
Think about that for a minute.
By the way, Tennessee is going to play seven ranked teams this year.
That's the most in the history of the program.
The Commodores and James Franklin got a much-needed win after an incredibly difficult first half of the season.
As a result Vandy's locked in for a third straight bowl game and, look out, the Commodores have a decent chance of pulling off a road upset at Florida in three weeks.
Florida has one of the worst offenses in SEC history and as a result the Gators could lose to anyone.
Plus, it's not over yet for the Gators.
Georgia, at South Carolina and Florida State are still left on the schedule.
13. Mississippi State
There are three bad teams in the SEC this year. The other 11 teams are pretty decent.
Mississippi State is the best of the bad teams.
For the first time all season Kentucky is not the worst team in the SEC.
Small victories, Wildcat fans. At least you managed to score against Alabama.
South Carolina scored 52 unanswered, and then Alabama followed it up with 52 more unanswered.
So Arkansas is presently on the wrong side of a 104-0 scoring run.
Even John L. Smith is like, "Damn, son, play some defense! Or at least score."